Faculty Publications


New evidence for the social embeddedness of infants' early triangular capacities.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

James P. McHale

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 2008

Date Available

January 2012


Infants appear to be active participants in complex interactional sequences with their parents far earlier than previously theorized. In this report, we document the capacity of 3-month-old infants to share attention with two partners (mothers and fathers) simultaneously, and trace links between this capacity and early family group-level dynamics. During comprehensive evaluations of the family’s emergent coparenting alliance completed in 113 homes, we charted infants’ eye gaze patterns during two different mother-father-infant assessment paradigms. Triangular capacities (operationalized as the frequency of rapid multishift gaze transitions between parents during interactions) were stable across interaction context. Infants exhibiting more advanced triangular capacities belonged to families showing evidence of better coparental adjustment. Theoretical and practice implications of these findings are discussed.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Family Process, 47(4), 445-463. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2008.00265.x Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Family Process

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.